[MUD-Dev] Levels and XP

Simon Miller trub at mudhole.spodnet.uk.com
Sat Jun 28 08:55:34 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Fri, 27 Jun 1997, Martin Keegan wrote:

> The worst thing about levels is the existence of muds with over 20 of
> them. At this point, it just gets ridiculous - I've seen muds with more
> than 800 levels. This blurs the distinction between levels and XP - Advent
> didn't even have 800 available POINTS!

It rather depends upon how points and levels are implemented - and upon
how levels affect the game.

On dikus and similar combat muds,  your next objective at any point in
time is to reach the next level.  There are therefore forty
sequential "goals" in a forty-level combat mud.

On a mud such as Island which has a system of quests,   which must be
completed in a certain order,  the quests become the sequential goals.
How many quests did Island have at the end?  Forty or so?  On Island,
the level was really less important than the quest count so far as
progress through the game was concerned.

In Advent there were no real levels:  they were just titles.  Therefore it
was the score itself which determined how far you had progressed through
the game and,  unsurprisingly,  each collected object was worth a precise
and predetermined number of points.

Therefore,  I think that the words "level" and "point" are just that -
words - and they have a different significance on different games.

(As for dikus,  I agree that 800 levels seems to be a silly idea unless
this 800-level mud had changed the significance of levels.)

> My problem with classes and races is not a problem of principle, but of
> implementation. I'm the first to flame someone who hates quests just
> because every one he's seen is poorly written. The way I've seen classes
> and races implemented (primarily on Dikus, less often on LPs, and seldom
> on Tinys (and let's face it, that covers 90% of muds)) is of a choice made
> (usually irrevocably) at character creation time. Moreoever, the muds with
> N classes/races (where N is large) tend to have very bland systems, where
> class/race is just a stat modifier instead of permeating one's existence
> within the mud.
> IMO, if you're going to have distinct, strongly differentiated groupings
> of players, the choices between them should not be presented at creation
> time, but be presented as career moves during gameplay.

Well, I really don't see how a race can be determined after character
creation.  Also,  there is some sense in being born into a certain class
but being able to move to a different class.

This is actually how it works in real life:  you are born into a certain
race and "class."  You can never change your race - but as an adult your
"class" will be whatever you have made of yourself.

N.B. By class I do not mean a strict hierarchical structure such as the
Hindu cast system or the now largely extinct British upper-middle-lower
classes.  However,  most people's childhood is affected by the status and
occupation of their parents,  even in a classless society.

On Turf (and also TNT, which borrowed Turf's system with a few minor
modifcations),  you must choose a race and class at the time of creation,
as is conventional for dikus.  However,  you can swap to a different class
at any time.  You can swap several times if you like,  subject to certain
conditions being met.  This is a multiclassing system of sorts because you
accumulated a level in each of the classes - but you also accumulate an
overall level.  Thus it is not a conventional multiclassing system:  if
you spend some time learning to be a fighter then that reduces the amount
of time that you can spend learning to be something else.  This is

TNT also gives an option to select a race and class at random during
character creation:  a simple and possible gimmicky idea - but it is an
implementation of the "lottery of life."

I'm not saying it's perfect but it shows that the diku class system can be
turned into something more realistic with a little effort.

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